Speak softly, or not at all.
Leave your shoes at the entrance — you won't be needing them.
Pad quietly around on tatami mats in your pristine white toe socks, wearing a traditional yukata or casual kimono, sit and watch the waterfalls and the birds in this haven of green, not far from the roar of the cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, a galaxy away in peace and quiet.
We're at Sanyo-so Ryokan, a traditional style of Japanese accommodation, about two and a half hours by train from Tokyo, and a world away in culture.
Sanyo-so is by the Izu Nagaoka hot springs in the Kona district, near the Kano River. Its buildings are nestled in a traditional garden reflecting the four seasons — weeping cherries, iris in summer, maples in autumn, cherry trees and Japanese plum in winter.
It is green and serene. The main buildings are traditionally constructed with 27 guest rooms. The newer buildings have tea-ceremony style houses designed by architect Togo Murano.
Sanyo-so was originally built as a home for Mitsubishi founder Yataro Iwasaki and later turned into traditional accommodation.
Once you put on your yukata (left over right) and are waited on by silent, elegant and solemn women in traditional kimono, the rat race is a million miles away. Heiwa is the Japanese word for peace and harmony and here you'll find plenty.
After a traditional meal with a dozen beautifully presented tiny dishes, take a communal bath. There are indoor and outdoor alkaline Izu Nagaoka Onsen springs here, separate ones for men and women.
They're reputed to be good for rheumatism, neuroparalysis and recovering from illness. Forget your Kiwi modesty, shower first, then soak in the soothing waters.
Your apartment is another haven of peace. Use the slippers in the toilet so there's no contamination, sit in your lounge and gaze out on the gardens, drinking green tea, fall asleep to the sound of cicadas and birds until a traditional breakfast is served next morning.
Peace and quiet. Where else do you find it in a country where 126 million people are jammed into an area not much bigger than New Zealand?
Japan can be overwhelmingly noisy, crowded and an assault on the senses. But the Japanese people, unfailingly polite, seem to have figured out how to find their zen in all the craziness.
There are pockets of peaceful parks everywhere, little havens in the cities. In Tokyo see Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden - just a quick walk from Shinjuku station, 53ha of loveliness since feudal times - and the Imperial Palace Gardens.
In Yokohama, the Sankeien Garden is a blissful area created by Sankei, a successful businessman who built his fortune trading silk in the 1800s. The outer garden was opened to the public in 1906 and the inner garden was Sankei's own private spot.
Sankei worked with cultural leaders, artists and literary figures to develop modern Japanese art and literature, including the tea ceremony, chanoyu.
He gathered 17 historic structures and temples from around the country and brought them to his garden, where the scenery changes with the seasons.
Some of the buildings were damaged in the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, and again during World War II air raids, but have been lovingly restored. It was designated by the government as a Place of Scenic Beauty a few years ago.
The garden is the venue for many events throughout the year — plum blossom viewing, a haiku exhibition, cherry blossom night viewing, iris exhibition, firefly evenings, harvest moon viewing and a succession of blossom calendar events as lotus, iris, hydrangea, magnolia, cherry blossom and wild chrysanthemum burst into flower.
How about delving into Japan's past, when the country was ruled by shōgun?
Nagoya Castle, which dominates the skyline in the city of Nagoya, was originally constructed in 1615 on orders from Shōgun Tokugawa Ieyasu as the seat of government for the region.
It was designated a national treasure in the 1930s, but wartime air raids destroyed the main castle tower and restoration didn't begin until 2009. Now it's a glorious representation of an earlier time, with ornate sliding doors, beautiful paintings on every wall and partition paintings known as fuzokuzu which depict the customs of the era.
This is luxury on a grand scale, but with a spare Japanese aesthetic that is a calming delight to the senses.
Head out to Takayama, about four and a 30 minutes' inland from Tokyo, to see more of old Japan.
The Hida No Sato folk village has preserved traditional houses and lifestyles in a green and forested area around Goami Pond, which is full of hungry koi carp and big ducks to feed.
See how people used to live in ancient Japan, in original thatch and shingle-roofed houses full of old-style tools, and learn about artisans' skills. You can even have a go at some ancient crafts like paper-making, silk production and candle-making.
And for a lovely place to stop along on the road, take a break at Lake Tanuki.
Originally a swampy area in a corner of the Asagiri highland on the western slopes of Mt Fuji, this artificial lake was created in the 1930s by diverting the waters of the nearby Shiba River to create a reservoir for irrigation.
These days it's now a large lake, a popular holiday spot, where you can camp, go fishing and boating, and it's noted for its views of Mount Fuji. That's if Fuji-san ever comes out from behind the clouds…
Take a moment off the highway to sit and contemplate its peaceful waters.
You'll find your zen.